U.S., Canada Sign Visa and Immigration Info-Sharing Agreement
The United States and Canada signed the U.S.-Canada Visa and Immigration Information-Sharing Agreement on December 13, 2012. The agreement will enable Canada and the United States to share information from third-country nationals who apply for a visa or permit to travel to either country. The Department of State said the agreement is intended to help both countries confirm applicants’ identities and identify risks and inadmissible persons at the earliest opportunity.
The agreement authorizes development of arrangements under which the United States may send an automated request for data to Canada, such as when a third-country national applies to the United States for a visa or claims asylum. Such a request would contain limited information, such as the name and date of birth in the case of biographic sharing, or an anonymous fingerprint in the case of biometric sharing. If the identity matches that of a previous application, immigration information may be shared, such as whether the person previously was refused a visa or removed from the other country. The same process would apply in reverse when a third-country national applies to Canada for a visa or claims asylum. Biographic immigration-information sharing is set to begin in 2013, and biometric sharing in 2014.
Under the agreement, information will not be shared regarding U.S. or Canadian citizens or permanent residents.